6 Must-Attend Music Festivals on the West Coast, Part Five
Monterey Jazz Festival
In October 1958 San Francisco Jazz radio host Jimmy Lyons realized his dream and successfully debuted the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California. Gracing the stage with their presence for its premier were, the now Iconic Billy Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and a 38yr old Jazz pianist named Dave Brubeck. An instant success, the festival has continued to run on the first full weekend of September for 59 years. With such greats as Sarah Vaughn, BB King, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Etta James, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, Stephane Grappelli, Sly & The Family Stone and Chick Corea. Yes, that is a long list but frankly, it barely scratches the surface in terms of the talent that have faithfully supported this event over its long journey to now.
Clint Eastwood featured the festival in his 1970 film Play Misty for Me where Eastwood played a jazz radio disc jockey stalked by a psychotic woman. A devoted local, and Jazz Fan and once Mayor of nearby Carmel, this only served to strengthen attendance and secure worldwide notoriety for the Festival.
This year will be no exception as far as quality goes. Friday night features Iconic producer and performer Quincy Jones, as honored guest at his own tribute, Richard Bona and closing out the evening, 2016 Grammy award winning powerhouse Cecile Mclorin Salvant.
Day two kicks off with afternoon artists playing on various stages including The Ray Charles tribute Orchestra with Maceo Parker, and a Boogie Woogie Blues Session with Davina and The Vagabonds. All Hail Saturday night!!!! Here come the Saints of Jazz! The Branford Marsalis Quartet with guest Kurt Elling! 2016’s Showcase artist is The Bad plus Joshua Redman finishing this incredible line-up.
Sunday is an impressive mix of the old and the fused! Starting out with Gregory Porters smooth and clean Jazz R&B voice, a perfect accompaniment for Sunday breakfast! Next? Be astounded by and take the journey with the pure beauty of Saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic” featuring longtime friends such as Ryan Porter on Trombone, Miles Mosely on Acoustic Bass, Ronald Bruner Jr. on Drums and Leon Mobley on Percussion. That’s just to name a few! Can Sunday top this? You decide! The event closes out with the incomparable Pat Metheny followed by the Wayne Shorter ensemble. I am tired just writing this!
Please treat yourself to this, our 5th pick for “Must-See Festivals on The West Coast.” What if you cannot make the pilgrimage? The festival will stream on KJAZZ 88.1 FM! Soak up the sounds and sit back and enjoy this amazing collective of musicians who have mastered the high art of Jazz.
The Monterey Jazz Festival takes place from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, Septemeber 18th.